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J Speech Lang Hear Res. 2003 Jun;46(3):649-57.

Spectral characteristics of speech at the ear: implications for amplification in children.

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Boys Town National Research Hospital Omaha, NE 68131, USA.


This study examined the long- and short-term spectral characteristics of speech simultaneously recorded at the ear and at a reference microphone position (30 cm at 0 degrees azimuth). Twenty adults and 26 children (2-4 years of age) with normal hearing were asked to produce 9 short sentences in a quiet environment. Long-term average speech spectra (LTASS) were calculated for the concatenated sentences, and short-term spectra were calculated for selected phonemes within the sentences (/m/, /n/, /s/, [see text], /f/, /a/, /u/, and /i/). Relative to the reference microphone position, the LTASS at the ear showed higher amplitudes for frequencies below 1 kHz and lower amplitudes for frequencies above 2 kHz for both groups. At both microphone positions, the short-term spectra of the children's phonemes revealed reduced amplitudes for /s/ and [see text] and for vowel energy above 2 kHz relative to the adults' phonemes. The results of this study suggest that, for listeners with hearing loss (a) the talker's own voice through a hearing instrument would contain lower overall energy at frequencies above 2 kHz relative to speech originating in front of the talker, (b) a child's own speech would contain even lower energy above 2 kHz because of adult-child differences in overall amplitude, and

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